Every Month Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Since May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. want to share safety tips and information with our Omaha community.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Collisions
Motorcycle collisions can happen in many different ways, but some of the most common include:
- Being rear-ended is a major threat for motorcyclists. It is important for bikers to be aware of their environment, including vehicles behind the motorcycle, and to watch what they are doing. Conversely, it is also important for drivers not to follow a motorcycle too closely.
- Having a car turn in front of the motorcycle. If a vehicle in front of a motorcycle fails to see the biker and makes a turn, it can cut the motorcyclist off. This results in the biker striking the side of the vehicle, often being thrown forward from the motorcycle.
- Going into a slide is particularly dangerous for a motorcyclist. This can happen for a number of reasons, including taking a tight turn at high speed, hitting loose gravel and other debris on the road, or hazardous weather. Maintaining control of a motorcycle is key, and it may help the biker particularly to slow down.
- Having a front-brake lockup: Some motorcyclists do not fully learn to control the front brake on a bike, and some brakes a notoriously difficult to handle. A lockup of the front brake can send the biker off the motorcycle.
- Hitting a car door: It can be far too easy for someone getting out of a car to fail to see a motorcycle coming from behind and open a door into the motorcyclist.
Common Injuries from a Motorcycle Collision
While people in motorcycle collisions can suffer broken bones and lacerations like victims in any other type of vehicle collision, certain injuries are particularly dangerous for a biker. These include:
- Road rash: Road rash is a deep abrasion, usually peeling off several layers of skin, from a motorcyclist sliding against pavement. Due to debris on the surface of the pavement, these injuries can become infected and usually require professional medical treatment.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries are very common for motorcyclists because their bodies lack the protection of that people in cars or trucks have. Being thrown from a bike can lead to impact injuries to the spine, such as compression, broken vertebrae, and nerve damage. These injuries are very painful and can result in paralysis.
- Head injuries: Collisions often result in blows to the head, and these impacts can cause serious brain damage, which often proves fatal to motorcycle riders.
Tips for Drivers
Drivers in cars, trucks, and SUVs should be mindful of motorcycles around them, and learn how to safely share the road with bikers. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is the relatively small size and profile of a person on a motorcycle compared to other vehicles. If drivers are only thinking about watching for large vehicles, they may miss seeing a motorcyclist and merge or turn into the motorcycle.
It is also vital to give people on motorcycles plenty of room while sharing the road, and to particularly avoid tailgating. Many motorcyclists slow down gradually by releasing the throttle rather than actually applying the brakes. This lets the biker slow down, but it does not activate warning lights on the back of the motorcycle. Other drivers tailgating a motorcycle might not realize the biker is slowing down until it is too late to stop.
Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle riders should practice good driving habits, and obey all local traffic laws. For example, lane-splitting is not allowed in Nebraska, which means motorcyclists are not allowed to drive between vehicles along the line separating lanes.
Nebraska has a mandatory helmet law requiring all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a protective helmet with lining, padding, and chin strap that complies with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s safety standards. In addition, bikers must have a motorcycle license, permit, or endorsement.
It is important for bikers to always watch other motorists before changing lanes or passing another vehicle. Defensive driving is the best way for bikers to remain safe by actively ensuring their safety, rather than relying on other drivers to keep them safe.
After a Motorcycle Collision
After a serious motorcycle crash in Nebraska, it is always a good idea to contact an experienced Omaha motorcycle accident attorney before signing anything. Insurance companies tend to want to spend as little money as possible to settle these claims, so having a lawyer should protect you. For a free consultation about your unique situation, please contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234.
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